Electric vs. Gas Forklifts: Choosing the Right Truck for You

Electric vs. Gas Forklifts: Choosing the Right Truck for You

If you’re in the market for a forklift to use within your warehouse or factory, your first decision may be centered on one crucial questions: electric or gas? Forklifts come in both options, each with its own pros and cons. What you decide is entirely up to your business, your budget and your needs. Research each option fully before making this important decision, as a forklift is a major purchase that can’t readily be reversed.

Electric Forklifts

Pros

With virtually no tailpipe emissions to clog up the atmosphere, electric versions are safer for the workplace and make much less noise than their gas counterparts. There’s no need to store fuel onsite, with no costly gas to budget for. According to Fleetman Consulting,  you can save $26,000 in gas within five years using an electric forklift for six hours a day and five days a week. You’ll also spend less money on maintenance and repair costs because electric versions do not have engines. You get better stability and capacity with electric forklifts thanks to their lower gravity center. Storage capability is increased due to a tighter turning radius. Electric versions have a longer life, with better productivity thanks to reduced hand and arm movements needed to operate the vehicle. Characterized by a lower cost of ownership, electric forklifts are considered greener because their are no waste fluids to get rid of on a regular basis.

Cons

Maintenance of electric forklifts in regards to charging and cleaning the industrial batteries may be time consuming, especially when multiple shifts are involved. Operators who neglect to change to the battery upon leaving for the evening can cause delays in production the following working day because the battery still needs to be charged. Electric forklifts may not work as well as gas versions when exposed to cold or wet temperatures. You will pay more initially for your electric forklift than gas, and you may need to change your existing electrical system to handle the increased voltage needs of the machine. You may also have to purchase spare batteries at an additional expense to quickly change out spent ones during the day to keep production running smoothly.

Gas Forklifts

Pros

You get more bang for your buck with diesel fuel forklifts, which have a stronger drive line torque with overall higher visibility. There is no need to waste time charging and changing batteries. Instead, operators simply fuel up and move on. There is also no need to replace batteries after a few years, representing a savings in cost for the business owner.

Cons

In order to operate a gas-powered forklift in your warehouse, you need to incorporate the proper ventilation and emissions capabilities. Capital costs are higher, and fuel must be stored in bulk on site, posing a safety problem. Tank installation is subject to local laws and regulations. This option is increasingly less desirable owing to the fact that fossil fuel costs have been steadily creeping up over recent years. The volatile oil and gas industry is never stagnant and is always changing; therefore, you’re never sure what the price of fuel will be year to year.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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